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The Dirty Baker’s Dozen: 2011’s 13 Worst Movies

December 30, 2011

The year has ended with a slew of surprisingly terrific movies—everything from Hugo and War Horse to Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’ll deal with those soon in my Top 10 list and the first annual “Frettsies.” But before we get to the cream of the crop, let’s tackle the crap. There were so many bad films in 2011 that I couldn’t limit my list to 10, so here’s 13. You can read full reviews, either from Fretts on Film or my old blog with Bret Watson, Two Cranky Guys, by clicking on the titles. And away we go!

10. Tower Heist Eddie Murphy’s would-be comeback turned out to be a swindle all right. Everyone who shelled out money to see director Brett Ratner’s joyless, jokeless caper should consider joining me in a class-action suit to get a refund. Too bad we can’t get those two hours of our lives back. The only way Ratner and Murphy will show up at the Oscars is if they buy a ticket.

9. We Bought a Zoo The most-mocked title since Snakes on a Plane left writer-director Cameron Crowe eating it. And hey, Matt Damon, next time you lecture President Obama about having “balls,” remind yourself that you emasculated yourself in this toothless turkey.

8. A Dangerous Method A dangerously dull movie from director David Cronenberg about Freud and Jung. Keira Knightley gives the year’s most distractingly awful performance as the patient who comes between them. Doctor, I have recurring dreams I’m trapped in a theater, forced to watch this movie over and over…

7. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows It’s elementary: This movie blows. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law did this perfunctory fiasco for the money.

6. One Day When Anne Hathaway gets hit by a bus while riding a bike, I burst out laughing because the supposedly tragic scene was so ineptly directed. I would’ve said “Spoiler alert!” but it’s impossible to spoil something that’s already rotten.

5. Cowboys and Aliens Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Iron Man director Jon Favreau—it should’ve been good. But even Ron Meyer, the studio chief who greenlit it, admitted that this muddled genre mashup “sucked.” He was too kind.

4. The Beaver Mel Gibson goes mad! Oh, and he also stars in director Jodie Foster’s disastrously ill-conceived drama about a guy who loses his mind and starts speaking through a beaver puppet. Not surprisingly, it bombed. Wanna bet Mel blames the Jews?

3. Three Musketeers Hey, I’ve got a great idea—let’s remake the umpteenth version of Alexandre Dumas’ classic swashbuckler, but in 3D! And let’s add flying ships! No? Okay, well I’ve also got a great script about a guy who talks through a beaver puppet…

2. Just Go With It, Jack and Jill and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star Adam Sandler, what hath you wrought? A horrifying rom-com with Jennifer Aniston (wait, is that redundant?), a cross-dressing comedy with a rapping Al Pacino (and that was the best part!) and a porn farce you cowrote and produced for your untalented pal Nick Swardson that was so embarrassing, you didn’t even do a cameo in it. I hope you’re proud of yourself. Because nobody else is.

1. Larry Crowne and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Who committed greater cinematic atrocities than Adam Sandler in 2011? Try Tom Hanks, who took the dead-serious issues of the recession and 9/11 and reduced them to fodder for excruciatingly twee Hollywood products that should’ve been called Extremely Flawed and Incredibly Clueless.

How many of the bottom 13 did you suffer through? And what were the worst movies you saw in 2011?

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15 Comments
  1. michael weithorn permalink

    For me, the truly “worst” movies are not dumb rom-coms or bad action movies or any movies that make no bones about existing just to earn box office $$. The worst movies are the ones that purport to actually say something truthful and insightful and meaningful about the human experience, but in fact contain not one frame of recognizable, truthful human behavior. For me, that prize this year goes to “The Descendants.” (George Clooney seems to have a knack for those kinds of movies, because I felt the same way about “Up in the Air.”)

    • bruceafretts permalink

      I disagree with you on “The Descendants,” but I’d definitely say that description applies to the Tom Hanks flicks that tied for the year’s worst movies. See what you did by casting him on “Family Ties,” Michael?

  2. Lynn Zuccarelli Austin permalink

    Well done! I look forward to Fretts Best List…Or Frettsies Besties… That said, I still miss the cranky guys….

    • bruceafretts permalink

      Thanks! I miss the cranky guys, too, but at least I still get to hang out with Bret and make him cranky in private.

  3. I watched We Bought a Zoo last night and liked it way more than I expected. Not a bottom-10 for me.

    Nor was Tower Heist, though it was disappointing.

    Thank you for picking The Beaver. I think most critics have forgotten it — maybe “obliterated the memory” is more like it. : )

    • bruceafretts permalink

      Glad we agree about The Beaver. There were probably worse movies than Tower Heist and We Bought a Zoo—Green Lantern and Green Hornet come to mind—but given the cast of Heist and Cameron Crowe, my expectations were much higher for those movies, and thus my disappointment far more severe.

  4. From what I have seen I can agree with your list here. Honestly, I am still looking forward to seeing Larry Crowne…

    • bruceafretts permalink

      I might’ve hated Larry Crowne even more in retrospect than right after I watched it. Like a bad wine, it gets worse with age…

  5. I disagree completely with The Beaver, I thought it was cleverly original, dramatic, and did I mention clever? Sure, at times it was weird. But so was The Tree of Life, but we both know what Oscar will think about that. And no Twilight? I can’t imagine THAT was better than any Tom Hanks movie.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. This One Goes Up to 11: 2011′s Best Movies « Fretts on Film
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  3. And the Crankies Go To… « Fretts on Film
  4. 12 for ’12: The New Year’s Most Exciting Movies « Fretts on Film
  5. Oscars 2012: Biggest Snubs and Surprises! « Fretts on Film
  6. Why Isn’t “Silent House” Making More Noise? « Fretts on Film

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